I’ve been thinking about Petri nets a lot. Around 2010, I got excited about using them to describe chemical reactions, population dynamics and more, using ideas taken from quantum physics. Then I started working with my student Blake Pollard on ‘open’ Petri nets, which you can glue together to form larger Petri nets. …
My source for the doctrine I call Humean Humility is section 1.4.4 of Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature, the section in which he gives his critique of “the modern philosophy.” Hume contends that the world according to the modern philosophy—a world with primary qualities but no secondary qualities—is a world of which we can form no conception. There are echoes of Hume’s premises (if not his conclusion) in two contemporary foci of philosophical attention: Russellian Monism, which agrees with Hume that there would be something defective in a world without anything like the traditional secondaries, but unlike Hume, goes on to attribute such qualities to the world, and Ramseyan Humility, which agrees with Hume that there must be more to any conceivable world than just structure with no underlying intrinsic or nonrelational properties, then goes on to argue that we could never know what these intrinsic properties are. In what follows, I examine all three views, as well as the merits of several possible lines of reply to them, including causal structuralism and dispositional monism.
Before I leave this subject I shall employ the same principles to explain that distinction of reason, which is so much talk’d of, and is so little understood, in the schools. Of this kind is the distinction betwixt figure and the body figur’d; motion and the body mov’d. The difficulty of explaining this distinction arises from the principle above explain’d, that all ideas, which are different, are separable. For it follows from thence, that if the figure be different from the body, their ideas must be separable as well as distinguishable: if they be not different, their ideas can neither be separable nor distinguishable. What then is meant by a distinction of reason, since it implies neither a difference nor separation? (T 126.96.36.199; SBN 24-25) In this paragraph, Hume poses the problem of how to understand the “distinction of reason” that figures in the philosophies of the medievals, Descartes, and the Port Royalists. The problem in a nutshell is that a distinction of reason is supposed to be a distinction in thought between things that are inseparable in reality; yet according to Hume’s own principles, whatever things are distinct are distinguishable, whatever things are distinguishable are separable in thought, and whatever things are separable in thought are separable in reality. It follows that things inseparable in reality should be neither distinguishable in thought nor distinct, period, so a distinction of reason ought on Hume’s principles to be impossible. Yet Hume goes on to try to make room for it in his philosophy, to the consternation of many commentators. I argue that he can indeed make room for it; the key is to recognize that ‘distinction of reason’ is an incomplete symbol.
I argue that racism is essentially a civic character trait: to be a racist is to have a character that rationally reflects racial supremacist sociopolitical values. As with moral vice accounts of racism, character is my account’s primary evaluative focus: character is directly evaluated as racist, and all other racist things are racist insofar as, and because, they cause, are caused by, express or are otherwise suitably related to racist character. Yet as with political accounts of racism, sociopolitical considerations provide my account’s primary evaluative standard: satisfying the sociopolitical standard of racial supremacy is what makes racist character racist.
Computer simulations serve myriad purposes in science: from experimental design in high-energy physics, to predicting tomorrow’s weather in meteorology, to exploring and evaluating candidate molecules in drug research. But is simulation also a tool for observing the world? Can we measure the world via computer simulation? It might seem not. Yet, in the geosciences, there are now ‘observational’ datasets composed entirely of simulation output. And in various fields, especially chemistry and engineering, one finds software designed to enable ‘virtual measurements’ of quantities of interest.
To what extent are factors that are extrinsic to the artwork relevant to judgements of artistic value? One might approach this question using traditional philosophical methods, but one can also approach it using empirical methods; that is, by doing experimental philosophical aesthetics. This paper provides an example of the latter approach. We report two empirical studies that examine the significance of three sorts of extrinsic factors for judgements of artistic value: the causal-historical factor of contagion, the ontological factor of uniqueness, and the contextual factor of appreciative environment.
multimethod experiments (total N ⫽ 4,065 participants) investigated the nature of perceiving sexual harassment by testing whether perceptions of sexual harassment and its impact are facilitated when harassing behaviors target those who fit with the prototype of women (e.g., those who have feminine features, interests, and characteristics) relative to those who fit less well with this prototype. Studies A1–A5 demonstrate that participants’ mental representation of sexual harassment targets overlapped with the prototypes of women as assessed through participant-generated drawings, face selection tasks, reverse correlation, and self-report measures. In Studies B1–B4, participants were less likely to label incidents as sexual harassment when they targeted nonprototypical women compared with prototypical women. In Studies C1 and C2, participants perceived sexual harassment claims to be less credible and the harassment itself to be less psychologically harmful when the victims were nonprototypical women rather than prototypical women. This research offers theoretical and methodological advances to the study of sexual harassment through social cognition and prototypicality perspectives, and it has implications for harassment reporting and litigation as well as the realization of fundamental civil rights. For materials, data, and preregistrations of all studies, see https://osf.io/xehu9/.
of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus should reconsider their equation of “throwing away the ladder” with the “end of philosophy.” To do this, I will show that an inconsistency arises in Wittgenstein’s view regarding the relationship of philosophy and science since he associates “the correct method of philosophy” with the propositions of science at the end of the aforementioned text. Due to this, I will maintain that it is reasonable to posit that the sharp distinction that Wittgenstein makes between philosophy and science in the Tractatus is merely illusory. An interesting consequence of this is that if this interpretation holds then this provides sufficient grounds to maintain that what some scholars refer to as “the end of philosophy” may actually be the beginning of “Wittgenstein’s naturalism.”
This paper develops a conception of misandrogyny that is analogous to Kate Manne’s account of misogyny. On Manne’s view, misogyny is a system of mechanisms that together police and enforce the gendered hierarchy of a patriarchal order. The patriarchal gender hierarchy is constituted by norms that call women to give femininecoded goods to men. On the account developed here, misandrogyny is a system of mechanisms that together police and enforce the gender binary of a patriarchal order. The gender binary is constituted by norms that preclude the existence of persons who aren’t consistently ‘read’ either as a man (and only a man) or as a woman (and only a woman). Misandrogyny thus polices and enforces exactly the nonexistence of people who are neither women (only) nor men (only). While misogyny pushes women down into their patriarchal place, misandrogyny pushes gender nonconforming persons out of existence—either by pushing the person out of literal or social existence or by pushing the person into a stable, patriarchal gendered position. Section 1 articulates and motivates the overall account of misandrogyny; section two characterizes three kinds of misandrogynist mechanism.
Partisanship continues to divide Americans. Using data from the American National Election Studies (ANES), we find that partisans not only feel more negatively about the opposing party, but also that this negativity has become more consistent and has a greater impact on their political participation. We find that while partisan animus began to rise in the 1980s, it has grown dramatically over the past two decades. As partisan affect has intensified, it is also more structured; ingroup favoritism is increasingly associated with outgroup animus. Finally, hostility toward the opposing party has eclipsed positive affect for ones’ own party as a motive for political participation.
In present times, around the globe, we are witnessing a public sphere in crisis, distorted through fake news, lies, threats of violence and call for constraints. This has occurred not only in states of authoritarian rule, but also in liberal societies. Thus, one of the great challenges for critical thought today is to be able to maintain sound methods of reflection when the public space, which since the enlightenment has been called upon to maintain a legacy of critical reflection and freedom, appears undermined. For Kant, Arendt, Habermas and others the public sphere was expected to sustain a measure of soundness of thought. But when the public sphere can no longer do so, and thought retreats into itself, what means do we have to engage in the world and develop a thought that is congruent with political possibilities? The concept of “critical thought” in this context refers not to the school of critical theory, but to the kind of thought that Arendt advocates—a thought that is socially, ethically and poli— tically astute. It means to scrutinise opinions and beliefs and to practice a certain “Socratic midwifery”.l It is in this context that the inner voice is heard.
Scientists warn us that we are living in an era of human—induced mass extinc— tion of species caused by our social practice of “co—opting resources, fragment— ing habitats, introducing non—native species, spreading pathogens, killing species directly, and changing global climate”.1 Mass extinction is characterised by a dramatic reduction in species during a geologically short interval. This kind of species extinction has happened five times over the last half billion years—referred to as the Big Five. And now we are entering into a sixth, expected to be the most detrimental since the asteroid impact eradicated the dinosaurs 66 million years ago.2 Today, over 26,500 species are threatened with extinction, according to the IUCN Red list.3 Even without the impact of humans, species would die out, but, as an example, the extinction of anthro— pogenic vertebrae is estimated to be up to 100 times higher than what scientists refer to as “the background rate”.4
This essay proposes a new interpretation of a central, and yet overlooked, argument Leibniz offers against Descartes’s power-free ontology of the corporeal world. Appealing to considerations about the successiveness of motion, Leibniz attempts to show that the reality of motion requires force. It is often assumed that the argument is driven by concerns inspired by Zeno. Against such a reading, this essay contends that Leibniz’s argument is instead best understood against the background of an Aristotelian view of the priority of real being over time. The essay also shows how this alternative interpretation can help to shed new light on the difference between Leibnizian forces and Aristotelian powers, as well as on Leibniz’s famous claim that accounting for force leads us beyond the mechanistic corporeal realm.
Assume presentism. Then Aristotle’s definition of change as the actuality of a potentiality seems to have a serious logical problem. For consider a precise statement of that definition:
There is change just in case there is a potentiality P and an actuality A and A is the actuality of P.
Given presentism, quantification has to be over present items. …
Plato’s Euthyphro, I argue, lays out a metaethics that responds to persistent and unresolved value disagreement, and that is a genuine contender for us today. With this proposal, I reject centuries of scholarship, not to speak of countless anthologies and syllabi in ethics and the philosophy of law. The Euthyphro begins with three cases of unresolved value disagreement. These cases are to be adjudicated by the law, which turns out to be difficult. Today if an author starts with three examples, we expect that the subsequent text is going to address them. This, I submit, is the structure of the Euthyphro.
Research Professor, Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA); Professor, Medical Anthropology Research Center-DAFITS, Rovira i Virgili University firstname.lastname@example.org aBstract: Tracheostomy with invasive ventilation (TIV) may be required for the survival of patients at advanced stages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). In Japan it has been shown that a proactive approach toward TIV may prolong the survival of ALS patients by over 10 years by preventing the lethal respiratory failure that generally occurs within 3-5 years of the onset of the disease. Measures to prolong life expectancy without foregoing quality of life have produced better results in Japan than in other developed countries. This ‘Japanese bias’ has been attributed to socio-cultural and religious factors as well as to the availability of material resources in Japan. In this article, we use the concepts of onozukara in kadō (Japanese traditional flower art, also called ikebana) and amae (passive love) to illuminate features of patient care that may contribute to this ‘Japanese bias’.
Monism about well-being is the view that there is exactly one basic (prudential) good and exactly one basic (prudential) bad. Pluralism about well-being is the view that there is either more than one basic good or more than one basic bad. We can illustrate this distinction by contrasting hedonism and desire satisfactionism, on the one hand, with objective list theories, on the other. Hedonism and desire satisfactionism disagree about what the basic goods and bads are, but they agree about their number: they both say that there is a single basic good and a single basic bad. By contrast, objective list theories—or at least the paradigmatic ones—posit either a plurality of basic goods or a plurality of basic bads. Parfit, for example, considers an objective list theory on which “moral goodness, rational activity, … and the awareness of true beauty” are all basic goods (Parfit 1984: 499).
When we make decisions we are invariably comparing outcomes that happen at different times. How much should you sacrifice now to get a better job later? Should you switch to solar? Purchase a gym membership? Studies of intertemporal decision-making suggest that we often exhibit two types of time preferences: future discounting, that all else being equal, we prefer that future pleasures happen sooner than later (and vice versa for pains); and past discounting, that all else being equal, we prefer that pleasures happen in the present or future than in the past (and again, vice versa for pains). Are these time preferences rational? It’s important that we make progress on this question, for assumptions about what discounting is normatively optimal inform public policy decisions throughout the world. Both social science and philosophy discuss the normative standing of discounting, philosophy focusing mostly on past discounting and social science mostly on future discounting. To a very rough first approximation, the two fields appear to disagree on when or if temporal discounting is rational. Future discounting is judged irrational by philosophers and as often rational by social scientists. Past discounting, by contrast, is viewed as rational by some philosophers but as (probably) irrational by social scientists.
For Jerry Fodor, Hume’s Treatise of Human Nature is “the foundational document of cognitive science” whose significance transcends mere historical interest: it is a source of theoretical inspiration in cognitive psychology. Here I am going to argue that those reading Hume along Fodor’s lines rely on a problematic, albeit inspiring, construction of Hume’s science of mind. My strategy in this paper is to contrast Fodor’s understanding of the Humean mind (consonant with the widely received view of Hume in both cognitive science and much of Hume scholarship) with an alternative understanding that I propose. I thereby intend to show that the received view of Hume’s science of mind can be fruitfully revised while critically engaging with Fodor’s contemporary appropriation. Consequently, I use this occasion to put forward a rather unorthodox interpretation of Hume’s theory in dialogue with Fodor as my guide.
Programs in quantum gravity often claim that time emerges from fundamentally timeless physics. In the semiclassical time program time arises only after approximations are taken. Here we ask what justifies taking these approximations and show that time seems to sneak in when answering this question. This raises the worry that the approach is either unjustified or circular in deriving time from no–time.
I'm delighted that Eden Lin agreed to contribute the following post to my "philosopher spotlight" series. Enjoy! * * *Most of my work
has focused on the normative ethics of well-being
or welfare, which investigates (i)
what counts as a life that is going well or badly for the individual whose life
it is, (ii) what determines how well or badly someone’s life is going, and
(iii) what things are good or bad for individuals in the most basic way.Theories of
well-being typically purport to identify the basic goods and bads—the kinds of things that it is ultimately in
or against an individual’s interests to possess and whose presence in a life
makes it go well or badly. …
It is often presumed by those who use propositions in their theories that propositions are representational; that is, that propositions represent the world as being some way. This paper makes two claims against this presumption. First, it argues that it does not follow from the fact that propositions play the theoretical roles usually attributed to them that they are representational. This conclusion is reached by rebutting three arguments that can be made in support of the claim that propositions are representational. This paper then advances the further claim that propositions are not representational. It considers several ways to overcome the difficulties traditionally associated with this claim, particularly how to account for falsity.
Is suffering really bad? The late Derek Parfit argued that we all have reasons to want to avoid future agony and that suffering is in itself bad both for the one who suffers and impersonally. Nietzsche denied that suffering was intrinsically bad and that its value could even be impersonal. This paper has two aims. It argues against what I call ‘Realism about the Value of Suffering’ by drawing from a broadly Nietzschean debunking of our evaluative attitudes, showing that a recently influential response to the debunking challenge (the appeal to phenomenal introspection) fails. It also argues that a Nietzschean approach is well suited to support the challenge and is bolstered by the empirical literature. As strangers to ourselves, we cannot know whether suffering is really intrinsically bad for us.
Dynamical models of cognition have played a central role in recent cognitive science. In this paper, we consider a common strategy by which dynamical models describe their target systems neither as purely static or purely dynamic, but rather using a hybrid approach. This hybridity reveals why dynamical models should not be understood as providing unstructured descriptions of a system’s dynamics, and is important for understanding the relationship between dynamical and non-dynamical representations of a system.
The Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu (4th to 5th
century C.E.) was a great light at the peak of India’s
empire.[ 1 ]
His works display his mastery of Buddhist as well as non-Buddhist
thought of the day, and he made his mark, successively, upon three
Buddhist scholastic traditions that are traditionally considered
distinct: Vaibhāṣika, Sautrāntika, and
Yogācāra.[ 2 ]
His master work of Abhidharma thought, the Commentary on the
Treasury of the Abhidharma
(Abhidharmakośabhāṣya), is to this day the
primary resource for knowledge of “Śrāvaka” or
non-Mahāyāna philosophy among Tibetan and East Asian
schools.[ 3 ]
His concise works on Yogācāra philosophy set a new standard
for that school, which became mainstream Buddhist metaphysics in India
for half a millennium
thereafter.[ 4 ]
Venerated as he is across the Buddhist world, he has always been a
subject of disputation.
We live in the era of culinary spectacles. Chefs populate our media portrayed as creative geniuses. Food and cooking performances are by now standard within the artworld, e.g. in art museums, art fairs, and exhibitions. In short, as some scholars have already suggested, they are highly valued and rewarding aesthetic practices, possibly counting as artforms. Philosophers Dom Lopes (2014) and Yuriko Saito (2008), for example, challenge the divide between traditional art kinds and culinary practices, contending that value ought not to be confined to the former; rather, to say it with Lopes’s words, “a paradigm example of everyday appreciation is cooking and eating food” (Lopes 2014: 121).
Philosophers commonly make claims about words or the concepts they are taken to express. Often the focus is on “ordinary” words (or concepts), although philosophers have also been concerned with technical terms. Sometimes engagement with concepts is the purpose of the research, as when a philosopher offers a conceptual analysis. Sometimes it serves as background, with philosophers laying out a concept in order to argue that it should be revised. And sometimes it is more instrumental, with conceptual issues arising while philosophers pursue non-conceptual questions.
It is widely believed that democracies require knowledgeable citizens to function well. But the most politically knowledgeable individuals also tend to be the most partisan, and the strength of partisan identity tends to corrupt political thinking. This creates a conundrum. On one hand, an informed citizenry is allegedly necessary for a democracy to flourish. On the other hand, the most knowledgeable and passionate voters are also the most likely to think in corrupted, biased ways. What to do? This paper examines this tension and draws out several lessons. First, it is not obvious that more knowledgeable voters will make better political decisions. Second, worries about voter ignorance may be misguided because partisans tend to become more dogmatic when they acquire more information. Third, ‘epistocratic’ solutions that emphasize voter knowledge are troubling, in part, because they increase the political power of the most dogmatic and biased individuals. Fourth, I suggest that solutions to citizen incompetence should focus less on voter knowledge and more on the intellectual virtue of objectivity. Unfortunately, a likely way to foster political objectivity is by encouraging political apathy.
time, the law is normative for all reasoners. That is, the Stoics don’t draw a distinction that is characteristic of later philosophy, between the laws of physics and the laws that hold for human action. The very same law shapes the movements of the cosmos and governs our actions. The Stoics’ conception of the law contributes to the age-old debate about nomos and phusis, law and nature. There is only one nature, the thought goes, and thus there is only one law. That there is only one nature means that there is only one natural way to live. It also, and more fundamentally, means that there is only one world. The world, rather than some particular state, is where reasoners are to lead lawful lives.
Racism is a global phenomenon that one can find everywhere from South Africa to Brazil to India to Japan, but it takes different forms in different places. Americans are too quick to assume that their particular experience of the oppression of black people and their stop-start struggle for equal rights provides a universal diagnosis and treatment plan for racism. …